Every nonprofit organization that functions at a high level on all areas below is positioned to achieve greater levels of success. A shortfall in any one area inhibits personal and organizational advancement.
Click on each tab to see the consequence of a missing pillar.
A strategy is a blueprint of action designed to guide your activities to a successful outcome. A lack of strategy leads to tactic-itis. An example includes “Hey, donations are slow… let’s send out a mailing,” or “Let’s hold an event or call some donors.” It’s doing one thing here and one thing there without a real, well-thought out plan or a realistic goal in mind.
Packaging goes beyond your logo and colors. It is the outward, visual, verbal appearance your organization makes and people perceive. Inconsistent packaging leads to confusion as to what you represent and clearly stand for. For example, planned giving is part of your packaging because it conveys you are here to stay.
Having proper operational focus helps discipline your activities on things that make a difference and ignore things that do not. A lack of focus reduces productivity as organizations and individuals make “busy work” when in fact they are producing no results. They are “hamsters” walking briskly on their self-constructed “hamster wheel” pursuing a monotonous, repetitive, unfulfilling activity, in which no progress is achieved.
A prospect is a targeted individual who is highly likely to have an interest or desire in what you have to offer. A failure in identifying your best prospects leaves you in an unenviable position of sheer chance that the person you are pursuing has any interest at all in your proposition. You suffer from participating in a professional “Wheel of Fortune.” You are afflicted by “Random-it is.”
Outreach is the activity of reaching out to new audiences who may have a need for or interest in your organization. An outreach program may include conducting a seminar on Planned Giving in nursing homes who are often bypassed by other organizations. Ignoring development of outreach programs may lead to bypassing sizable gifts for the taking. Hunkering down to familiar environments makes you “invisible” to new potentially high opportunity segments.
Within the non-profit world, stewardship is about maintaining an ongoing relationship with donors to keep them informed of the progress and impact of their gifts and that their gifts are being used as intended. This builds a mutually beneficial relationship through trust which also adds to the reputation of the fundraiser and non-profit organization. A lack of stewardship will destroy the reputation of the fundraiser and organization leading to an outcome of financial ruin where they are ultimately “penniless.”
Leverage is the opposite of reinventing the wheel on every campaign and tactic. It is about taking what has best worked for you in the past and “re-purposing it” for current use. Leverage may be using a successful letter sent to a prospect list that can be sent by others (your board members) to non-respondents from the original mailing. Focusing on developing something new is a full-time job which is not sustainable and often leads to frustration and “burnout.”